Fostering an Ownership Mentality to Boost Your Business

*This article was originally published on, authored by Shaara Roman*

When you think of an entrepreneur, you think of someone who is constantly hustling. They’re highly invested in their work, extremely driven, innovative, and agile. Now, wouldn’t it be great if all employees operated like that?

Of course you want your employees to work for you the way they would work for themselves…and it’s possible. By nurturing an ownership mentality, you can create a team of people who are genuinely invested in the ongoing success of the business. Your employees are more likely to go above and beyond when they understand how their contributions impact the success of the company — and how that success in turn impacts them.

Benefits of fostering an ownership mentality:
  • Higher engagement rate
  • Increased retention
  • Boosted innovation
  • More autonomy
  • Improved collaboration
  • Higher client/customer satisfaction
  • Better bottom line

Some people come to work with this attitude — this desire to give it their all because they’re genuinely invested and they know it will pay off. But the majority of employees tend to be more disconnected, with a mindset of simply getting the job done. So how do you get your employees to shift from thinking like an employee to thinking like an owner who is fully vested in the success of the business? Sure, you can foster ownership by ensuring employees have some skin in the game by offering financial incentives, but there are also several other ways to make that happen as well.

1. Model a win-win mentality

Adopt an abundance mindset and commit to the notion that there is enough to go around. Too often our talent programs pit people against each other and foster competition versus collaboration. Show your employees that the successes of the business are directly related to the individual — made possible by their hard work and also to be enjoyed by them. When the company thrives, the individual thrives, and vice versa.

2. Empower your people 

Give your employees the authority and information to make meaningful decisions. Demonstrate your trust in their competence and refrain from micromanaging. The more empowered each individual feels, the more likely they are to feel engaged in the day-to-day and connected to the big picture.

3. Value your employee’s work

Be sure to regularly express praise and appreciation for all the hard work your team does, both on an individual and collective level. Positive reinforcement is a proven method, and the more you encourage your employees with words of affirmation, the more likely they are to want to continue to meet those standards. In fact, Gallup research shows that you should recognize people for their contributions at least every seven days.

4. Ask for each individual’s input

By asking your team for their input, you show them that you really care about what they have to say. Everyone wants to feel heard, and we all perform better when we have a say in what we’re doing / how we’re doing it. You can even go further and seek out employee input to the company’s strategy and new services or products.

5. Keep everyone in the loop

Communication is key, and it tends to go a long way. The more transparent you are with your employee-facing communications, the more included your people will feel. If your employees feel in the dark about the goings-on of the company, then they will feel disconnected from their work, their results, and their drive.

6. Foster inclusion and belonging

Creating a strong sense of community has all kinds of benefits. Prioritize your culture and your people, and you will see a team-driven work ethic emerge. When your employees feel accepted and connected to each other, they operate more like a family. ‘What’s good for you is good for me’ will start to be a common denominator, and this will show up in all that your employees do.

7. Give your employees a sense of purpose

People need purpose — it’s what drives us. When you show your employees that their work is meaningful and that their contribution is invaluable, they will care about what they’re doing. They will put their heart and soul into it, rather than getting by with the bare minimum. Establish a clear mission/vision/values and explain why it’s so important to the bigger picture and greater good.

8. Hold people accountable for their commitment to the team

Teamwork makes the dream work. Without the belief that ‘we’re all in this together’, there will likely be dysfunction and more self-centered behaviors. When those types of behaviors arise, it’s important to course correct by holding people accountable to a higher, team-oriented standard.

9. Hire individuals who already have a sense of ownership over their work

This ‘sense of ownership’ attitude is contagious, and the more people on your team who feel this sense of ownership, the more likely they are to inspire others to adopt the same approach. While such a mindset can certainly be trained, it is of course easier when you’re working with people who are already inclined to think that way.

10. Minimize meaningless rules 

Nobody likes having to jump through hoops. The more useless rules and protocols you have built into your organization, the further removed your employees are from having a sense of ownership. Ditch the needlessly rigid processes and instead emphasize trust and autonomy.

The relationship between employer and employed tends to be strictly transactional. By shifting that standard towards a more genuine sense of mutual care, you can ensure a higher level of success for your organization. Your greatest power lies in your people, you just have to shift the tone from the individual to the collective. Once your employees feel invested in the team, you will start to see a ripple effect.

Shaara Roman is author of The Conscious Workplace and Founder of The Silverene Group